Woman Describes Teen Life As Member Of Midtown AA

NBC4.com, USA/May 21, 2007

Washington D.C. — A woman has come forward saying she was close to some of the alleged leaders of a D.C. Alcoholics Anonymous group called Midtown.

Controversy mounted around the group after some former members said it was cult-like and its leaders encouraged sexual exploits in a Newsweek magazine article.

On Monday, more allegations about Midtown surfaced.

A woman, who will be referred to as Michelle, said she joined the group when she was 15-years-old and was a member of the group for seven years.

"I would say overall, it was like a seven-year stomachache that I walked around with," she said.

Michelle said that at 16, she had sex with a leader of the group who was much older than herself.

"I was a target of the month, I guess, and I wasn't in any way forced to sleep with him, but it was a choice that if I were to engage, my life would be a lot easier, and if I didn't, my life was to be much more difficult. That's based off what I had seen with other girls," she said.

Like others who have accused Midtown of controlling them, Michelle said, "I really don't think there was an aspect of my life that was not controlled."

Michelle told News4 that sexually transmitted diseases are not all that uncommon in Midtown.

"It was almost your rite of passage. I would say that it would be uncommon to not have something once you've been there a couple months," said Michelle.

News4's Pat Collins said he attempted to contact one of the alleged leaders of Midtown but has received no response.

A number of local churches in the District and Montgomery County recently barred Midtown from using their facilities after the allegations surfaced.

Michelle said Midtown's problem is with its leaders not its followers.

Montgomery County police said they are aware of allegations of misconduct in Midtown, but said so far they cannot find concrete evidence of any wrongdoing. Authorities said if there are any victims who have not come forward, they would like to hear from them.

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